Readiness Efforts for COVID-19 Must Integrate Economic Response and Recovery Capabilities

Epidemics have a special capacity for blind-siding affected populations with complex secondary impacts. The dramatic spread of infections and fatalities often focuses attention on the immediate public health threat. However, economic disruptions are often compounded in the wake of immediate public health threats.

According to the OECD, the current COVID-19 outbreak reflects this trend in its mass disruption of macro- and micro-economic activity on a scale that could halt global economic growth. Despite this, the international community’s response has been slow. This is partially because economic response and recovery has yet to become a default element of pandemic management. In an effort to combat this, communities need to take action. With the majority of acute economic impacts concentrated in regions experiencing local transmission, a rapidly shrinking window exists for leaders to observe, learn, and prepare.

Consider using global economic data and analyses from sources such as Moody’s, Trading Economics, and The Economist Intelligence Unit to gain insight on the scope and duration of current and potential economic impacts. Identify the local industries and populations most likely to be affected. Meanwhile, as the global economic community takes action, use sources like the OECD and the World Economic Forum to monitor global interventions and their effects. Combine these insights with local economic data, relevant expertise, and existing disaster preparedness resources to enact measures to minimize economic impacts and speed recovery when the outbreak abates.

Stable and healthy economies are a core pillar of the social determinants of health. The income, jobs, commodities, and services they provide allow communities to function and thrive. Large-scale outbreaks, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, pose a substantial threat to this pillar – though easily overlooked in the rush to establish traditional medical and public health response functions. Despite this, all communities will experience economic impacts as COVID-19 spreads. The impacts may be direct or indirect and may originate at home or abroad. No matter the scenario, communities that invest in economic response and recovery readiness will fare best in the end.

Follow the links below to access more resources on economic response and recovery preparedness: